In a nondescript storefront on Providence between Queens and Wendover, there is a small piece of Italy called Pasta and Provisions. If you have recently moved into a new home in South Charlotte, you may know them from the pile of welcome coupons you so often receive. If you’re thinking about throwing that coupon away, don’t. It’s worth the visit.
It’s a bit difficult to navigate around the store, everything is close together, and it may take you a few minutes to get oriented, but once you have your food, it’s worth it. It is part deli, part grocery, part pasta store, with a wall devoted to wine. It's not the place for food shopping on a budget, but the store has everything you'll need for a romantic meal, and much of it is specialty items. You would certainly pay more for the same quality food at a restaurant.
I haven’t yet had the opportunity to order from the deli, but it has a mix of standard Boar’s Head variety of meats and specialty meats from Italy and local producers. If you’re looking for something special, this is the place to try. They have a refrigerator full of classic Italian cheeses, and some less well-known cheeses.
The grocery has anything you might need to cook almost any authentic Italian meal. I had been craving Amaretti, a memory from spending summers in Italy as a child. Pasta and Provisions had it.
You can get everything Italian from biscuits, to tomatoes, to sardines (though be aware, Pomi tomatoes – my personal choice for ‘canned’ tomatoes – are actually cheaper down the street at Fresh Market). They have several types of polenta and a terrific prepared foods case. Today they had a terrific looking cannellini bean salad and roasted asparagus. The bread selection includes baguettes, ciabatta (according to their website, these are made in a small New Jersey bakery) and focaccia (made fresh every morning). You can also get all the makings for pizza as well as fresh greens (prosciutto and arugula pizza, anyone?).
|It may be made in New Jersey, but it's good. The cheese is actually Trader Joe's|
They carry terrific multi-colored Chester Farms eggs. These fun eggs, though not cheap, are my go-to when I forget to get eggs at the farmers market.
|Pretty eggs, not dyed|
But the most important part of this particular market is their pasta! They have a wide variety of different pastas and flavors. They make fourteen noodle flavors, and you can special order ginger, jalapeno and squid ink pasta. They have fourteen varieties of ravioli, four varieties of tortellini, two varieties of gnocchi, four varieties of lasagna, stuffed shells, manicotti, and cavatelli. Every pasta variety I have tried so far is terrific, though my personal favorite is, and always has been, ravioli. Theirs is no exception. Their wild mushroom is perfect for a staying-in date night meal, the low-fat Florentine is very flavorful, and the jalapeño is perfectly spicy. Among my favorites is the Roasted Pepper. Ravioli prices start at $6.95 for a pound.
|Date night, anyone?|
To finish the pasta, they provide an excellent selection of sauces. The tomato based sauces are amazing, the basic basil pesto I can make better myself. Next on my “to try” list is the olive tapanade, wild mushroom and gorgonzola cream sauces.
The wine section has something for every meal. Featuring both fine wines and everyday wines. The friendly staff can help you pair wine for your terrific Italian dinner. You can also go for their prepared meals and they’ll help you with that too. And on your way out, you can pick up some cannoli for dessert!*
* I haven’t tried the cannoli yet, but I’ve heard it’s terrific.
Pasta and Provisions
1528 Providence Road
Charlotte, NC 28207
M-F 9-5; Sat 9-7; Sun 12-5